View Full Version : Mandola anyone?
It started in the classifieds. Ken C. was gettin' rid of his stuff. I always wanted to try a mandola. Ken had an '88 Flatiron pancake for sale. $700......... I couldn't loose. Right?? WRONG. I fell in love with the mandola. The Flatiron is a great sounding instrument. It is loud.
1 month later........... Ken puts a Rigel mandola in the classifieds. MAS kicks in. (I learned the M doesn't just stand for mandolin) Anyway, he missed the Flatiron and I HAD TO HAVE the Rigel. We traded. We all know MAS in any form means $$$. I'm happy (for now). Ken is a SUPER person to deal with.
The Rigel is a fine instrument. It's the first one I've played. It is a powerful piece. The mandola adds a new voice and dimension to my fiddle tune pickin'.
Let's hear it for the MANDOLA............
My buddy and I played "Old Joe Clark" recently we both played 3 instruments through the tune. I started on guitar while he started on mandolin, then I switched to mandola. He picked up the guitar, and I switched to mandolin. We ended with him on mandola and me on mandolin!
...and here's me with my Weber Alder #2
DNestler...........what strings do you use? Rigel uses D'addario. This is just what I need...........another string quest.
I use the standard D'Addario mandola set too. Sometimes I think I'd like something a little lighter, those guys can get pretty hard to fret when you're talking about a 17" scale length and chording in E or A. But then when I do try something new, I never like the sound as much.
is it hard to transfer to mandola as the tuning is so different???
It's not different, it's just 1/5 lower. The fingerings are exactly the same as the mandolin, but you're playing in a key 1/5 lower. E.g. finger like it's A on the mando, it is then D on the 'dola etc. Want to play in A on the 'dola? Finger it like it's E on mando. (Top string is E not A, etc.). Simple once you get the idea.
thanks for the response swampstomper. haven't heard much mandola, but i'm looking for a mando family instrument that is a bit lower in register for solo playing at open mics. tried an octave and the 22" seemed a tad too long and it was a bit too low in register for me. wondering if the dola is the answer.
'Dola is the answer to your quest. It has a rich voice that is closer to guitar than the mandolin is, but the scale length will run anywhere from 15" to 17". My Weber flat top can sond an awful lot like a guitar when I strum it with a lot of open chords. I can sing to it much the way I sing to guitar. Very cool, very versatile instrument.
Make sure (as Mike Marshall says) you get one with a single soundhole rather than F holes. The idea for mandola is to blend in with the other instruments, the single sound hole makes this possible. A 'dola with F holes sounds like a low mandolin.
And I just want to mention the the 'dola is not "1/5" (one-fifth) lower then the mandolin, because that implies there are another 4/5s (four-fifths) to the scale. Thinking that the tuning of a dola is 20% lower than a mandolin could get confusing because the major scale is not 10 based system. I wouldn't bother mentioning this slight discrepancy if we were having a verbal conversation, but I do feel it necessary for the sake of clarity in a written conversation (sometimes the college level History teacher in me must be fed. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif )
Swampstomper is right though, the 'dola is tuned a fifth lower than the mandolin; CGDA rather than GDAE. Because the tuning ascends in fifths just like the mandolin, the chord shapes and scales are all exactly the same fingering, they're just different keys than you're used to.
HTH, sorry if it's a little didactic.
thanks daniel, now i just have to find somewhere around these parts to try one (or more) out.
FWIW re strings , my 16" has found GHS OM PF285 12,w22,w32, w44 just right,
previous labled mandola strings set#felt too heavy. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
I just received a 1916 Gibson H-1 mandola. I strung it up with Thomastik medium strings and I'm in heaven. What a beautiful sound.
I've only played 2 mandolas in my life. The Flatiron/oval hole and the Rigel/f holes. Granted I'm talking about an apple and an orange. I like the Rigel better.